Common Criminal Charges

Common criminal charges consist of civil infractions, petty offenses, misdemeanors or felonies.

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Criminal charges will have a drastic effect on an individuals life, liberty and future career goals. If you or a loved one has just been arrested and wish to learn more, contact William Moore Criminal Defense for immediate legal answers and available representation in Broward County and Broward County.

Fort Lauderdale police officers commonly investigate people for civil infractions, petty offenses, misdemeanors, as well as serious felony offenses. Depending on the situation, the person may be ticketed or arrested or released after arrest. However, once the investigation is completed, the police may charge the person with a specific offense.

In some cases, once the charges have been filed, the charged persons may be asked to present themselves at the courthouse on a specified date and time. In some other situations, an arrest warrant for the person may issued, which requires the law enforcement officers to arrest the person if located which can cause you to be in even further trouble because usually this connotes you have been avoiding your responsibilities and have wasted police time. Persons charged by the police for a particular offense may seek legal aid from a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale. Just because you are charged does mean you are guilty.

Civil Infraction and Petty Offense

Civil infractions are technically not a crime, but the state does file a charge. To prove an act of civil infraction, the state must prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the state must be able to show that it is more probable than not that the person has committed a violation. This is a considerably lower standard to charge a person because proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not necessary. Civil infractions are usually decided by a judge and not a jury. Either way, you should have a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale on your side because they will know how to work with you and communicate with the judge the best. They will have prepared the best case for you and worked on the most beneficial strategy for you. This is not something a public defender has the time to do, it is just impossible because their case load is so hefty.

A petty offense charge is applicable under some state laws where the person charged with the offense may be tried before a judge without the need for a jury. A fine is the most common form of punishment for petty offenses. However, unlike a civil infraction, a petty offense is usually criminal in nature. Defendants who are unsure whether they have been charged with a civil infraction or a criminal offense may contact a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale for legal advice.

Misdemeanor and Felony

A misdemeanor under the law is considered to be a criminal offense, and a conviction will typically result in a criminal record. A misdemeanor is viewed as a less serious offense in a technical sense, but the punishment following a conviction can be quite severe. Misdemeanors may lead to punishments such as fine, probation, imprisonment, and driver’s license sanctions in relevant cases. A sexual misdemeanor may be classified as a sex crime, and the convict may be registered as a proclaimed sex offender. This may require the convicted persons to keep the police authorities apprised of their place of residence for the rest of their life.

Felony is the gravest offense that a person can be charged with. In some cases, there may be confusion whether the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. However, in most cases, all types of serious crimes such as murder, homicide, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, embezzlement, treason, and arson are recognized as felonies. Defendants charged with a felony or misdemeanor should consult with a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale for the protection of their rights.

Distinction between Civil Infractions and Crimes

Some of the most common types of civil infractions are driving violations such as over-speeding, dangerous driving, or failure to yield way. However, violation such as using a vehicle with an invalid license plate or driving a vehicle without insurance is a misdemeanor. A traffic misdemeanor is a criminal offense which will result in a criminal record for the offender. In many cases, a traffic misdemeanor will not only be recorded in the police records, but may also carry points, depending on the nature or severity of violation. These points are added to the driving record of the offender.

If the person reaches a certain limit of points, it may result in revocation or suspension of the driver’s license. The offender must read the traffic violation ticket carefully to understand whether it requires a visit to the court or it is a civil infraction which does not usually have such requirement. A person charged with a misdemeanor will be tried before a jury, where as civil infraction can be decided by a judge or a magistrate without the need for a jury. Defendants who have been charged with a traffic misdemeanor may seek legal advice from a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale.